Experience a well known board game from another angle. Monopoly Streets takes you down to ground level in a third person view of your chosen character.
A goodie but oldie in a new environment
The vast majority of people today knows the rules and the progress of Monopoly. This is it, there isn’t much change of what you know. You can play against friends locally (you need separate controllers) or you can meet up with friends or strangers online – of course, if you just want to play, the game is offering quite challenging opponents with different difficulty levels of your choice. There’s a few different modes to play, and what the game offers is about right.
There’s the classic mode with the official rules as we all know them – everybody starts with an amount of money with no properties, and you buy the properties as you visit them on your way around the board, and if you do not wish to buy the property, or don’t have the assets to buy it, the property go up for auction, and the rest of the players are then encouraged to bid on the property. Collect sets to build on your properties, and make the opponents pay rent when they are visiting your property. When a player can’t pay the rent they are prompted to, even when mortgaging their properties, they’ll go bankrupt – a player can at all times declare bankruptcy, forfeiting/quitting the game. The last remaining player wins the game.
In Bullmarket mode, all the properties are auctioned off at the start of the game, and stops after 20 turns, declaring the winner with the highest total worth in assets (properties, buildings and cash).
Jackpot mode shows an interesting turn of events. You can build on properties, even if you don’t have the full set – the first player to double their total worth wins the game.
The Xbox 360 version of the game offers avatar support, so you are allowed to use your Xbox Live avatar, that you created to your account. I like this, since there isn’t many games out there who includes this, and many people – including me – has been using quite some time (and money) on the avatar, so I’m happy that my avatar doesn’t always collects dust in my dashboard.
Hitting the streets
Oh, the street thing. I almost forgot! The game contains a number of different boards, but those are a bit dull after you have tried the cities. This is what the games brilliance are at – instead of going around and around in a board, your characters (avatar or ingame characters) are going around in a lively city with driving cars and trucks, accompanied by random avatars of the games choice – I guess the game is using the avatars, that are cashed in your Xbox’ memory – including avatars on other accounts saved on the machine.
The graphics aren’t stunning, but for a fun board game it’s more than enough – there isn’t any lag, clipping, long loading times or other ugly small mistakes. The animation and sound effects from the characters are rather fun and entertaining, while the background music is acceptable, but a bit repetitive after some time.
What I would have loved to see in this game is more cities available. There’s only two different cities, whereof one is unlockable, and not available from scratch. I think I would have been satisfied with two from start and three unlockable cities – five in all. The game has “streets” as subtitle after all, but there’s more boards than cities, which makes it kind of a moot point.
The game is all about fun competition in making the best trades and decisions – with a good strike of luck too. If you keep end up on opponents properties, you will lose no matter on how good you are at making decisions and trades. The game is good at what it does – taking a board game into virtual fun with a bunch of good twists and ideas.